The Tesco store in Maynooth, Co Kildare is so large that you could be missing for days and you wouldn’t be found. It was a late evening dash after work, en route to my Mam’s and everywhere else was closed. I wanted to buy some plants for her for Easter and as a ‘thank you’ for minding the children over the holidays.
There I was, on the descending escalator, one of the ones with no steps, that moves REALLY slowly (catering for heavy trolleys, I expect) where you don’t know if you should just stand there or walk. If the children were with me, I would pretend to skate down the escalator and they would laugh and look around to see who was watching, half embarrassed by the antics of their mother.
I was laden down with the plant arrangement (so much better for the hips than chocolate), eggs for the Easter bunny and random stuff that somehow totted up to cost e48. Slowly, slowly it moved.
And then the tears started. Just like that. Big, fat wet ones that you would expect to see on a wide-eyed child crying on a cartoon.
The weight of the plant arrangement and the precarious balancing of Easter eggs et al meant that there wasn’t a spare hand to wipe the tears. Why, HERE, of all places should I suddenly get an overwhelming pang of loneliness that my Dad wouldn’t be around for Easter ? His first Easter ‘away from home’, as the memorials in the newspapers sometime say.
Flashbacks to childhood Easter Sundays when my father cooked sausages and hard-boiled eggs outside, the blackened pots never to make a full recovery from their outside adventures. Children hopping from one foot to the other, waiting for the watched pot that found it hard to boil.
Flash forward to the present day and wondering what he would think of the recent tree-cutting around the house in Milltown. Imagining his voice, directing his adult son on the ‘right way’ to do it.
It’s hard to hide on an escalator, especially in an almost flood lit store. ‘Don’t look at me, don't look at me’, I silently urged the strangers meeting me on the ascending escalator.
I half expected a well meaning gob shite to say ‘Cheer up love ! It might never happen.' Could I whisper back, 'It already did' ?